Sine last year, I have made an effort to reach out to other local freelancers and get to know more about the community in the Philippines.
Since taking freelancing seriously, I have spent most of my time finding clients, doing work for them and making money. This rinse and repeat process has put a strain on my productivity. By taking up so much work, I’m spreading myself too thin on work. I’ve missed out on some of my deadlines and sent out substandard work as a result.
Aside from not managing my time and projects wisely, one of the reasons why I got so burnt out as a freelancer is I never had anyone to talk about work. Maybe I’m not doing a good job in getting my friends and family onboard with what I do for a living, but probably something I will have to live with.
So last year, I’ve attended several meetups and forums about freelancing. It was a refreshing experience for me because I usually spend the whole day silently staring at my computer screen. Talking to other freelancers who share my passions and interests allowed me to talk about things that I don’t get to discuss with people from my circle.
I was able to forge relationships with a couple of freelancers, some of them I consider as professional connections. However, there’s something that’s bothering me whenever I attend these types of events.
I always feel like the odd man out.
I’m not the kind of person who easily gets along with new people or makes a good impression on them. I always keep to myself and raise my guard when someone new introduces his or herself to me. I guess I’m a snob or radiate an unfriendly vibe to people, which is perfectly fine with me but bad for business (more on this later).
So whenever I’m out there at events looking for people to talk to and discuss our jobs, I always find myself alone like an island in a sea of countries and nations.
I try to sneak up to groups of people, lending an ear to their conversations. But sometimes, their topic doesn’t interest me, or they don’t seem to notice me, which is okay. So I have to look for and talk to other people, hoping that someone stays and reciprocates.
Meetups for people like me are a painful process. There may be meetups where you won’t be able to build connections and feel like you’ve wasted your time. Not that it’s ever happened before to me, but it could.
So why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep attending meetups that make me feel uncomfortable and awkward?
Strangely enough, I want to.
Sometimes, you need to stick your neck out in the open, not knowing of its consequences so that you can find out yourself. The results can range from disappointing to utterly fantastic. And that’s what life is about – taking chances, growing a new skin, creating new experiences.
If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, the challenge eventually gets lost. Complacency sets in, and you’ll find yourself resting on dead laurels.
New experiences, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable they are, put you to the test. It places you in situations that you’ve never been before as you navigate your way to unknown territories. Your feelings and emotions will be exposed to new highs or lows.You’ll probably fail because you tried, but you can also succeed because you tried.
It’s easy for me not to attend meetups and forums because I feel uneasy meeting new people and surrounded by the unknown. But it is also the thing that drives me – to face and overcome the challenge, to risk everything for something that’s not guaranteed.
Because the payoff is worth it.
How about you? What are your thoughts about new experiences? Do you stick to what you know or do you jump to the unknown? Comment below and let’s talk about it!